Introduction: Blunt trauma of the lower limb with vascular injury can cause devastating outcomes, including loss of limb and even loss of life. The primary aim of this study was to determine the limb salvage rate of patients sustaining such injuries when treated at Leeds General Infirmary (LGI) since becoming a Major Trauma Centre (MTC). The secondary aim was to establish patient complications.
Methods: A retrospective analysis found that from 2013 to 2018, 30 patients, comprising of 32 injured limbs, were treated for blunt trauma to the lower limb associated with vascular injury.
Results: Twenty-four patients were male and six were female. Their mean ages were 32 and 49, respectively. Three limbs were deemed unsalvageable and underwent primary amputation; of the remaining 29 potentially salvageable limbs, 27 (93%) were saved. Median ischaemic times for both amputees and salvaged limbs were under 6 hours. Of the 32 limbs, 27 (84%) were salvaged. All amputees had a MESS score ≥ 7, although not all patients with MESS ≥ 7 required amputation. Eleven limbs had prophylactic fasciotomies, three limbs developed compartment syndrome – all successfully treated and three contracted deep infections – one of which necessitated amputation. All but one patient survived their injuries and were discharged from the hospital.
Conclusion: Attempted salvage of 27/29 (93%) limbs was successful and all but one patient survived these injuries when treated at an MTC. MESS scoring and ischaemic time are useful but not sole predictors of limb salvage. Complication rates are low but may be significant for their future implications.
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